Falcons vs. Eagles preview: 5 things to know about Week 1

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1. Game information

When: Sunday, Sept. 12 at 1:00 p.m. ET
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
Referee: Scott Novak

2. Injuries to know

The most notable injury to the Falcons is Josh Andrews, who won’t show up on the Injury Report because he is on the Injured Reserve. The Falcons only have one name on this week’s report, linebacker Brandon Copeland, who was a limited participant with a hamstring injury. The Eagles have a more extensive limited participation list — Brandon Brooks (knee), Landon Dickerson (knee), Rodney McLeod (knee), and Davion Taylor (calf).

3. Eagles players to watch

RB Miles SandersSanders will surely be a large part of this new-look Eagles offense under Shane Steichen and Nick Sirianni, which will feature a heavy dose of RPOs and screen passes.

DL Fletcher CoxCox is one of the premier interior defenders in this league and is going up against two inexperienced interior linemen in Matt Hennessy and Jalen Mayfield. It could be a long day for the offense if the Falcons can’t contain him and Javon Hargrave.

CB Darius SlaySlay has taken a step back recently since establishing himself as one of the best cover corners in the league a few seasons ago. If he can recapture that magic, Calvin Ridley will have a tough day. If he continues his slide, Ridley will feast.

DE Brandon Graham: The Eagles will test their best pure pass rusher against the Falcons’ worst pass-blocking tackle — Kaleb McGary. The Falcons could be in dangerous waters along the offensive line if the former first-round pick doesn’t look comfortable against a 32-year-old Graham.

WR DeVonta Smith: Coming off a Heisman, Smith will look to establish himself as the best rookie in this incredible wide receiver class. A.J. Terrell will have a great chance to get his feet underneath him against an inexperienced wideout.

4. Eagles QB: Jalen Hurts

All eyes will be on Carson Wentz in Indy and Hurts in Philly because of the implosion within the Eagles organization last season. Nobody expects Hurts to be in the City of Brotherly Love for very long, but that won’t stop the staff from fine-tuning the offense to fit their quarterbacks’ strengths. I expect a bevy of RPOs, screens, and other quick pass action to act as an extension of the run game. I could even see Hurts going for 300-plus total yards — 200 through the air and 100 on the ground. The Falcons will have to spy on the dual-threat quarterback and be sure to keep their rush lane integrity.

5. Last meeting: Falcons 24, Eagles 20 (2019)

The last meeting between these two teams ended with Julio Jones hauling in a short pass behind the line of scrimmage, then bursting off the blocks on a fourth-down for a 54-yard touchdown with 2:10 remaining on Sunday Night Football. The Falcons defense gave up their own explosive play on a fourth down, but they were able to get the stop they needed to preserve a 24-20 victory.


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